Despite an environment with almost-daily reports of layoffs and an unemployment rate at a 15-year high, employed Americans are no more or less likely to be looking for a new job in 2009 than they were last year, according to a recent survey.
The telephone survey, commissioned by SnagAJob.com, a Web site for hourly employment, and conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, a third-party research firm, found that 26 percent of employed Americans said they will look for a new job in 2009.
This is exactly the same percentage who intended to look for a new job at some point last year, even though the U.S. economy is now in recession.
Meanwhile, employed Americans said that if they were to lose their job tomorrow, their immediate household would be able to survive a median of 120 days before it would be unable to pay for basic expenses like rent/mortgage, food and transportation.
For those with a household income of less than $25,000, the median duration for getting by was just 30 days.
Employed Americans who do not foresee job hunting this year – 73 percent of survey respondents – cited being happy at their current jobs as the No. 1 reason they plan on staying put (65%).
However, others did express concerns about the economy and labor market as motivators to stay where they are. Nearly one in five workers (17%) said they consider themselves fortunate to have the job they do, and another 7 percent said that times are tough, and it’s not a good time to be looking for work.
“Given the bleak economic news, we are surprised to see that there hasn’t been a significant decrease in the number of employed Americans who expect to undertake a new job search,” said Shawn Boyer, CEO of SnagAJob.com.
“Intuitively, you might think that fewer workers would want to leave the security of a paycheck they’re already earning for the unknown of a job hunt and new job. But the positive news here – for employees and employers alike – is that the majority of employed Americans are still happy at their current jobs, and that’s a greater motivator to stay put, as opposed to feeling trapped because it’s a tough market.”
For the 26 percent of employed Americans who do intend to be putting out their resumes this year, most are motivated by the desire for a bigger paycheck.
Nearly four in 10 workers (37%) said the No. 1 reason to look for a different job is because they need to make more money.
Meanwhile, 19 percent of these workers think that they are in danger of being laid off, and another 11 percent are hoping the grass is greener with another employer because they are unhappy at their current job.
By demographic groups, workers responded a bit differently about their likelihood to be on the job hunt and why a new job is a priority – or not:
* 29 percent of hourly workers said they will be on the job hunt, which is down 2 percentage points from last year.
More money is the No. 1 reason 44 percent of hourly workers will be looking for new employment. And for the 71 percent of hourly workers who will not be job hunting, this is largely because they are happy at work (60%).
- 22 percent of salaried workers plan to find a new job, up 3 percentage points from last year. Three in 10 of these salaried workers are most motivated to find a new job because they fear being laid off. An additional 26 percent need a new job in order to make more money. And for the 77 percent of salaried workers who will not be looking for work, happiness at their current job is their No. 1 reason for staying put (72%).
- Older workers are more likely to be on the job hunt than they were last year. Of those who are at least 55 years old, 13 percent said they will be looking for a new job, which is up 5 percentage points from last year. The need to make more money is the No. 1 factor for 42 percent of this group, and an additional 18 percent said they will need a new job because they plan on relocating to a different area. Meanwhile, 14 percent of this group felt they are in danger of being laid off.
On another topic, workers also had varying responses concerning how long their immediate household would be able to meet its basic expenses if they were to lose their job tomorrow:.
- Two groups – salaried workers and any households with an income of $50,000 or more – have the greatest cushion. They each said their immediate household would be able to survive a median of 180 days before it would be unable to pay for basic expenses like rent/mortgage, food and transportation.
- Hourly workers reported a median of 90 days.
And by region of the country, households in the South reported the greatest cushion if they were to experience a layoff, citing a median of 180 days. The Midwest has a median of 150 days, and households in the Northeast and West would feel the most pressure with a median of 90 days each.
For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,098 working Americans were interviewed by telephone via Ipsos’ U.S. Telephone Express omnibus Nov. 13 – Dec. 1, 2008.